Blog originally posted August 2016.
After a routine traffic stop Walter Scott, fearing for his life, fled and the monster (policeman Michael Slager) shoots the unarmed man five times in the back. In the back. All caught on tape by a random passerby.
Even with the video as evidence, the 11 white women and men and one black male declared a mistrial.
History repeats itself. How many lynchers were charged for senselessly, callously hanging black people?
There is no need to go through the painstaking process of creating a new post about our nation’s love affair with murdering black men.
I’ll just add Terence Crutcher and Tyre King to this existing post.
Terence’s murder comes complete with video. I’m told the video shows a female cop shooting the unarmed man in cold blood and after nearly two minutes CPR is administered to no avail.
Tyre was 13 years old. The end.
Another add: I refuse to watch any of the video’s. I refuse to become desensitized. Every murder needs to shock our systems, interrupt our sleep, and compromise our appetites.
I started this post a few days after the murders of Philando Castille and Alton Sterling. Since then police have been murdered in Dallas and Louisiana and the Nashville School Board elections are off the rails. I’ve spent some time unpacking my mental pairing of the murders and the education discussion in this city. What’s the connection? I once believed education was the great equalizer and recent events have not only challenged me but changed me. But I digress…
If you don’t go to sleep and wake up with your heart in your throat realizing that your place in this society is becoming more and more opaque with a fade to nothingness – congratu-freaking-lations. I’m not kidding, be glad to be free from such sadness.
I’m not alone in this weird place. This psychological beat down into submission, hopelessness. For me, it started more than a week ago when I awoke early one Saturday morning to accusations on Twitter that led to a tweet-a-tweet with the designated education Twitterazzi in Nashville. I was so troubled by the exchange that it took me back nearly twenty years ago when I was working for the Nashville Chamber of Commerce when an African American gentleman from up north was visiting for a conference and unabashedly called out his Southern brethren. I will never forget his observation of African Americans in Nashville. “You guys are so scared! You’re scared to talk and even the way you walk says you’re submissive.”
The gentleman’s harsh observation played over and over in my head as I read the commentary to my tweet. My crime was a comment on a picture of Memphis parents dressed in orange t-shirts at a meeting in what looked like a gymnasium. “I. Love. It.” caused a firestorm of tweets accusing me of supporting bad policy for children. I respond that the picture was “a beautiful thing” which, in turn, set in motion a series of “helpful” advice. In a sincere effort to usher me to see the error of my ways, the nice people explained that some of us need help forming opinions – like helping a child, they said. I accused them of being “paternalistic” and, true to form, it was suggested that I didn’t mean to use that word; that maybe I meant something else. Though I am still angry, I am not interested in calling them out, but rather illuminate their social and political entitlement and the clear disparaging of, well, me. I dared to celebrate an image they fear and are fighting like hell to keep out of their precious city.
As Nashville has become more gentrified and education choices are vilified, the man from up north’s diagnosis rings true still and promises to worsen. I believe we are expected to act a certain way and, dutifully, fall in line. How many African Americans in Nashville do you see speaking out on divisive issues such as charter schools? Thousands of parents have chosen to send their children these schools yet Nashville’s political elite is hostile to such choices, creating guilt and fear in parents. So we keep quiet for fear of being bullied and further maligned (see Vesia). We are forced to choose a side and then blasted if a even a spot of charter acceptance is detected. Most of us are simply ill-equipped for the fight – so we remain politically and socially SHACKLED. The use of fear and distrust as instruments of control is as old as, well, see Willie Lynch.
Speaking of shackles. Nothing says institutionalized shackles better than being charged with your own murder. Alton Sterling wouldn’t be dead if… Philando Castile shouldn’t have… Sandra Bland probably… Tamir Rice was only 12, but… Trayvon … Freddie…
Fading to nothingness.